TAWAS CITY – Among other business at their Sept. 2 meeting, the Iosco County Board of Commissioners (BoC) adopted several resolutions, the majority of which pertain to public safety. In each case, the approvals were granted in unanimous, 5-0 votes of the BoC.

The first document authorizes an equipment purchase for the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) crew, which will be charged to the 2020 capital outlay fund. They will receive 16, APX400 7/800 MHZ Model 2 port handheld radios and related equipment, as quoted by Motorola Solutions, at a cost of $46,892.

BoC Chair Robert Huebel shared that he and Commissioner Charles Finley have been able to meet recently, to work on some negotiations.

Huebel said he knows this is a lot of money, but Finley has given him some very valuable insight, and he thinks it is well worth the cost to get up-to-date on such important equipment.

Finley agreed that it is a sizable price tag, but equipment only lasts so long. When the numbers are broken down on an annual basis, over the 10-year life expectancy of the radios, it puts this more into perspective.

He added that, as is the case for all of public safety, the radio communication is a lifeline.

BoC Vice Chair John Moehring asked how things were looking in the capital outlay line item for EMS.

Scott Kiernicki, operations manager for both Iosco County EMS and Arenac/Iosco Mobile Medical Response, said that things are sitting pretty well.

“This year, we budgeted $445,000 in there, but we have a balance of $418,000. We have an ambulance that will come out of that, which will bring it down to about $318,000,” he advised. Therefore, after the radios are purchased, they should still have a fund balance of approximately $200,000 to $210,000.

The second resolution adopted by the BoC authorizes the Iosco County Sheriff to apply for a grant for the 2021 Secondary Road Patrol and Traffic Accident Prevention Program.

The commissioners have reviewed the application, and the resolution calls for this to be submitted as presented.

The BoC then approved a request from the undersheriff to purchase body armor, in the amount of $715, for the animal control officer.

The next resolution the commissioners adopted, authorizes the acquisition of a patrol car for use by the Secondary Road Patrol Program.

Upon reviewing the bids, the recommendation was to accept the bid from John Jones, at a price of $42,916, complete with emergency response equipment upfit. The cost is to be covered by the Secondary Road Patrol Grant.

Finley remarked that the vehicle is much appreciated and that the Iosco County Sheriff’s Office (ICSO) did a great job working with those in Lansing to get this accomplished as, otherwise, the funds would have gone back to the state.

Commissioner Terry Dutcher said there are a lot of vehicles and pieces of equipment which have been purchased, and he hopes that the resources are there to be able to use them, rather than the items just sitting around.

“I know some of them are used quite a lot,” he said, adding that he thinks it’s great that the county is able to have these funds, and he agrees with Finley that the ICSO has done a fabulous job of updating their equipment. “But again, there comes a point where there’s equipment that we need, and there’s equipment that we don’t need.”

It was later on, during the BoC’s Committee of the Whole meeting, when Sheriff Allan MacGregor said it is a misconception about the vehicles and equipment in the lot.

He noted that these items are utilized on a daily basis, and he would like Dutcher to come by so he can see how and when the department uses these vehicles.

Dutcher appreciated the offer, telling MacGregor that he will take him up on that.

He added that he didn’t mean to insinuate that the ICSO has too much equipment, but there is a lot of it there.

In related action, the BoC adopted a resolution stating that the board has reviewed the request to purchase additional equipment for the new patrol vehicle. This will consist of a modem, antenna, mobile data terminal docking station and a Stalker radar unit.

The $3,095 cost will be covered with Secondary Road Patrol Grant funds.

In separate matters, the BoC heard from Iosco County Jail Administrator, Captain Scott Frank.

“We have an open, full-time position for a corrections officer, and then with that full-time position, we’ll have an opening for a part-time position,” he said.

Frank told commissioners that Scott Mousseau has been a part-time corrections officer since October 2019. “We’d like to move him to the full-time status, and then hire a new part-timer to fill his spot.”

Iosco County Clerk Nancy Huebel pointed out that, although the hiring freeze is still in effect, these are essential positions which are exempt from same.

The motion to move forward with the positions, as presented, also passed in a 5-0 vote.